Brexit: The thing I am told more than anything is ‘get on with it’

November 29 2017
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With the initial Brexit negotiations due to conclude this December, Wells MP James Heappey provides his snapshot of where things stand

BREXIT continues to excite those who are most passionately for and against.

For the vast majority of people, however, it’s all becoming a little tedious and so the one thing I am told more than anything else, is simply ‘hurry up and get on with it’. The majority opinion is acquiescence – which should not necessarily be confused with enthusiasm – because most people have accepted the result even if it were not the way they voted.

That silent majority do, however, want the Government to behave responsibly and don’t seem to like the preference for ‘No Deal’ expressed by the most ardent Brexiteers. They want to be sure that the Prime Minister is seeking the best possible deal and they’re happy that we should make some compromises to maximise our trade opportunities in particular. Similarly, the silent majority have little time for the shenanigans of the most determined Remainers who have said that they want to stop Brexit altogether.

However, we should draw a clear distinction between those who advocate the most extreme outcomes and who are at odds with the views of that silent majority, and those who are simply seeking to make sure that the Brexit process considers all the things that it should. My colleagues in Parliament who have reservations about Brexit must be allowed to do their job as Parliamentarians and hold the executive to account. Publishing their photographs as the front page of a national newspaper under the headline of ‘Mutineers’ is not only an affront to them as conscientious members of Parliament but it also diminishes our democracy.

The passion being demonstrated in Parliament is a sign of a healthy, not unhealthy, parliamentary democracy. The Government being pushed to compromise to win votes is a good thing, not bad. And those who argue that the EU will delight in seeing Parliament in such a challenging mood see the equation only from one side. Yes, Parliament will challenge the proposals of Her Majesty’s Government but at some point Parliament will also have to consider the proposals of the EU too. In that moment, we will choose between the best the EU has been willing to offer or walking away without a deal. Berlin, Paris, Rome and Brussels will be acutely aware that not reaching a deal would be as painful for them as it is for us. A strong and contrarian Parliament is a good thing.